Constipation - 5 steps to keep things moving
Small changes can add up when it comes to constipation. Many people get relief from simple adjustments to their diet and daily routines. If you’re having difficulty with constipation, here are some steps that can help soften your stools and keep your bowels moving.
- Eat more fiber. Adding fiber to your diet increases the weight of your stool and speeds its passage through your intestines. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals. Add legumes to soups, salads and casseroles. It’s best to make these changes to your diet gradually over a few weeks.
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for 64 ounces of liquid each day, such as water, tea or clear soups. If you’re increasing how much fiber you eat, consuming more liquid can help the fiber work better.
- Exercise daily. Regular physical activity reduces the time it takes food to move through the large intestine. The longer stool remains in the large intestine, the more water that’s absorbed and the drier stool becomes.
- Try bowel training. To help your body become more regular, try to have a bowel movement at the same time each day. Because eating activates your large intestine, try to move your bowels 15 to 30 minutes after breakfast or another meal. Even if you don’t feel like you have to go, sit on the toilet. If you’re not successful after few minutes, try again a bit later. With practice, your body may become trained to defecate on a predictable schedule.
- Respond to the urge. If you’re body’s telling you it’s time to have a bowel movement, listen to it. Don’t ignore the urge to go.
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